Gopi Crisis

The small female characters portrayed here derive from gopis, female cowherds and devotees of Krishna. Depicted from the waist up, they seem to be bathing, as they are often shown in Indian paintings. Large shadowy creatures—vaguely human, somewhat phallic— protect and contain the gopis, while bats or birds disperse from the center of the image. On close inspection, these flying forms are the hair of the gopis, detached and given life as a new symbol that will populate and animate Sikander’s work.

Shahzia Sikander (born 1969)
Gopi Crisis, 2001
Watercolor, gravure, inkjet, and chine collé, on tea-stained paper
Collection of the artist
© Shahzia Sikander. Courtesy: the artist, Sean Kelly, New York and Pilar Corrias, London.